In an often belligerent and sarcastic tone, GOP State Senator Stacey Campfield, the man who spearheaded Tennessee's "Don't Say Gay" bill -- which would ban discussion in schools of "sexual orientation other than heterosexuality"-- lashed out at arguments against his bill by comparing homosexuality to bestiality and making what public health officials would characterize as recklessly false assertions about AIDS, in addition to other controversial claims, while appearing on my radio program on SiriusXM OutQ.
On bullying and suicides by gay teens, including two teens in Tennessee in recent months:
"That bullying thing is the biggest lark out there."
"There are sexually confused children who could be pushed into a lifestyle that I don’t think is appropriate with them and it's not for the norm for society, and they don't know how they can get back from that. I think a lot of times these young teens and young children, they find it very hard on themselves and unfortunately some of them commit suicide."
On why only heterosexuality should be discussed in schools:
"I just think there are situations where some kids maybe sexually unsecure [sic] in themselves or sexually confused and don't necessarily know clearly what direction they are. If someone, a person of influence, says maybe you're gay, maybe you should explore those things -- maybe the child, who is young and impressionable, says maybe I am gay."
"[Homosexuals] do not naturally reproduce. It has not been proven that it is nature. It happens in nature, but so does beastiality That does not make it right or something we should be teaching in school."
On what he called the "glorification" of homosexuality in the media:
"Homosexuals represent about 2 to 3 percent of the population yet you look at television and plays and theaters, it's 50 percent of the theaters, probably more than that, 50 percent of the theaters based on something about homosexuality."
"Most people realize that AIDS came from the homosexual community -- it was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men. It was an airline pilot, if I recall."
"My understanding is that it is virtually -- not completely, but virtually -- impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex...very rarely [transmitted]."
"What's the average lifespan of a homosexual? it's very short. Google it yourself."
According the esteemed Canadian infectious disease specialist Jacques Pepin, in his groundbreaking book The Origin of AIDS, DNA evidence now available has shown that the first known case of simian-to-human transmission of HIV occurred in Africa in the 1930s when a hunter killed and chopped up a monkey for food. The monkey’s blood infected an open cut. (There is no evidence of monkey to human sexual transmission). HIV then was transmitted among humans for decades in Africa largely via unprotected heterosexual vaginal sex, which, contrary to Campfield's claims, the CDC and all public health experts warn is a high risk activity. Today, around the globe, the majority of people with HIV are heterosexual and are infected via heterosexual sex.
The "short lifespan" meme about gay men comes from the claim of far-right, discredited researcher Paul Cameron, which was debunked back in the 1990s. Most recently North Carolina Senator James Forrester made the same claims -- that gay men die younger -- in an interview on my radio program in defending the antigay marriage amendment he put on the ballot. (He died a few weeks after the interview.)